FREDERICKTOWN — The Fredericktown Freddies baseball team had only four hits in their sectional final game against Johnstown on Thursday.
But they made those hits count. Especially the last two.
Matt Smith hit a bloop fly ball that fell between fielders and became a double, then Nash Cunningham singled and drove Smith in to earn a walkoff 4-3 victory.
Smith came up to lead off the bottom of the seventh and swung at the first pitch he saw from Johnstown pitcher Hunter Cecil. The ball flew toward Johnstown’s left fielder, who suddenly bolted toward third when the wind blew the ball down. It landed safely, and by the time anyone got a hold of it, Smith had reached second.
“It was really just a bloop out to left,” said Smith following the game. “I had dropped my shoulders a bit. But it dropped. … I was banking on (Cunningham) to drive me home.”
When Cunningham came up, it seemed the inevitable would happen.
“I knew we’d win,” said Cunningham. “We needed to score. And I knew the kid (Smith) had some speed to go all the way.”
Cunningham’s single zipped between the shortstop and third baseman, then slowed when it reached the grass. Johnstown had no chance to throw out the speedy Smith.
“We had some timely hitting,” said Fredericktown head coach Tom Craze. “We had the lineup where we wanted to be. … Johnstown has been a lot better by the end of the season. They’re one of the best teams in the Central District in Division III. I don’t care what their record is. They’re getting better and better.”
Fredericktown had only two hits coming into the seventh. But the Freddies benefited from four errors and six walks by Johnstown.
Cunningham, who earned the win on the mound, pitched a complete game. He allowed six hits and three walks, striking out five.